Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Clara's Long Tunic and Skirt

With the turn of the century, the tight corsets of previous decades went out of fashion. As women learned of the detrimental health consequences from wearing corsets, more women refused to wear them. Softer, more natural outlines replaced the artificial shape and restrictiveness of corsets.

The Art Nouveau movement began to influence fashion, with soft outlines and artistic details. Asian influences also added to the flowing fashion designs of this era.

In the 1910s, the long tunic became a prevalent fashion design. The tunic was a long jacket or blouse, which was worn over a skirt. This tailored tunic outfit for Clara has an empire waistline, very popular in the early part of the decade. As the decade progressed, waistlines on dresses moved lower, ending up at the natural waistline.

Large hats were also very fashionable in this decade. In fact, hats in the late 1910s took on immense, wide-brimmed shapes. Lace-up boots were still in fashion at this time, especially for everyday wear.

Although you can color the dress, hat, and boots any way you like, white and pastels were popular in the early 1910s. Here are some shades that were used in fashion in the early part of the decade:


To print Clara's Tunic, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 3 (592k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will be available on this blog as long as I continue to post new fashion pages for her. You can read the introduction for the Clara paper doll here.

To print the Clara paper doll, use this PDF file:
The Clara Paper Doll (718k)

If you like my paper dolls enough to want to share with others, please email or post a link to my blog rather than sending or posting a copy of the paper dolls. Refer your friends so they can enjoy the free, printable paper dolls on my blog. Please do not post my artwork on your own sites, modify any of the files, or distribute them to others.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Clara's Victorian Ballgown

Clara is ready for a dance in a Victorian dress known as the crinoline. The crinoline is the classic hoop skirt featured in so many little girl's princess drawings. However, a young girl such as Clara would not wear a floor-length gown. A mid-calf skirt length would have been the fashion for a girl her age.

With fine stockings and kid leather shoes to match the dress, Clara will be ready to dance. To complete her outfit, a ribbon hairpiece would be worn over carefully curled ringlets. Clara would not have been old enough to wear her hair up, a style reserved for older girls and women.

The original dress is a thin ivory wool fabric with rust-red velvet ribbon trim on the bodice, waist, and skirt panels. The shoes are a matching ivory kid leather with mother-of-pearl buckles on the bows. The headdress would also be ivory and rust to match the outfit, although the original version of this headdress is ivory and olive green.

Be creative with your coloring. I simply provided the original colors as a reference for the paper doll's outfit. You may also be interested to know that along with white, ivory, and gray, these were some of the popular colors for clothing in the 1850s:



To print Clara's Victorian Ballgown, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 2 (632k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will be available on this blog as long as I continue to post new fashion pages for her. You can read the introduction for the Clara paper doll here.

To print the Clara paper doll, use this PDF file:
The Clara Paper Doll (718k)

If you like my paper dolls enough to want to share with others, please email or post a link to my blog rather than sending or posting a copy of the paper dolls. Refer your friends so they can enjoy the free, printable paper dolls on my blog. Please do not post my artwork on your own sites, modify any of the files, or distribute them to others.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clara's Victorian Half Cape and Dress

Clara is dressed for chilly weather with a beautiful Victorian half-cape, a flowered bonnet, and leather boots. This fashion design is from the 1850s, when the Victorian half cape became popular.

The dress under the cape is a practical day dress. The design is pretty simple, and would be worn for everyday activities.

The boots would be leather, and are beautifully made with scalloped edges. The boots are pretty sturdy, and could be worn everyday as well.

The bonnet completes the ensemble, with silk roses and trim. This hat has a cute ruffle at the bottom, with a beautiful bow that ties under Clara's chin.

The original cape is made of quilted silk in a delicate shade of taupe with an ivory lining. The dress is a dark blue velvet corduroy. The bonnet is made from a matching blue velvet, and trimmed with red and white roses, along with white ruffles. The button-up scalloped edge boots are a medium tan leather.

Be creative with your coloring. I simply provided the original colors as a reference for the paper doll's outfit. You may also be interested to know that along with white, ivory, and gray, these were some of the popular colors for clothing in the 1850s:



To print Clara's Victorian Half Cape and Dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 1 (631k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will be available on this blog as long as I continue to post new fashion pages for her. You can read the introduction for the Clara paper doll here.

To print the Clara paper doll, use this PDF file:
The Clara Paper Doll (718k)

If you like my paper dolls enough to want to share with others, please email or post a link to my blog rather than sending or posting a copy of the paper dolls. Refer your friends so they can enjoy the free, printable paper dolls on my blog. Please do not post my artwork on your own sites, modify any of the files, or distribute them to others.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Clara, the paper doll

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will be available on this blog as long as I continue to post new free, printable fashion pages for her. You can read the introduction for the Clara paper doll here.

To print the paper doll, use this PDF file:

If you like my paper dolls enough to want to share with others, please email or post a link to my blog rather than sending or posting a copy of the paper dolls. Refer your friends so they can enjoy the free, printable paper dolls on my blog.

Any redistribution or reproduction of any or all of the paper dolls or other contents of this blog in any form is not allowed, other than printing the paper dolls, or downloading them to your computer for your personal and non-commercial use only.

Melinda Bowers (that's me) is the artist and copyright holder for all the artwork on this blog, unless otherwise indicated. SouthwestUS Design, LLC is the name of my small business (still just me). Please do not post my artwork on your own sites, modify any of the files, or distribute them to others. Feel free to refer anyone who might be interested in the paper dolls, though.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Introducing Clara

Clara is going to be the star of my paper doll blog for a while. She was first designed in September of 2010. I had already designed and privately published a collection of other paper dolls and their fashionable outfits. However, I wanted to draw a younger paper doll specifically for this blog.

I drew the doll from a live model, and then got down to business. I sketched a bunch of cute dresses, hats, and shoes on tracing paper, then scanned the images onto the computer. My daughters watched over my shoulders as I converted the sketches into high quality line art using Adobe Illustrator. Mostly they asked how long it would take until I would print them some dresses.

I finished several dresses for Clara and printed a few paper doll outfits for my daughters. They were the research and development team: testing whether the paper dolls' outfits worked after they were cut out. Life got busy, and publishing a blog took second place to a big family vacation we had planned for mid-October. After the wonderful vacation to the central California coast, I got back to setting up the blog.

On October 26, I was working on a logo project for a client while my husband took my two oldest daughters on a bike ride. A normal late afternoon, here in Mesa, Arizona. Until the phone call. The one you never want, the one you hope never to receive. My 11-year-old daughter Allison had been hit by a car. She was killed instantly by an inexperienced and impatient 16-year-old driver. In all the shock, grief, and the aftermath of this tragedy, our world was turned upside down. Nothing was the same, and we had to rely wholly on our faith and knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ for comfort. Wonderful family, friends, and neighbors helped with what they could.

I didn't even think about these paper dolls for several months. But I remembered how much my daughter loved the paper dolls, and so I wanted to continue to draw them. Allison colored the dresses beautifully, and was so excited when I had a new fashion design complete. So this blog is dedicated to my beautiful daughter Allison.

Allison helped choose Clara as the paper doll's name. And Allison was the model I used to create the paper doll.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Welcome to Heritage Paper Dolls

I love paper dolls. My first memory of paper dolls was cutting some cute little paper dolls and dresses from some wrapping paper at a birthday party. I still have those dolls in an envelope somewhere. But my love of paper dolls was most likely inherited from my granny. Granny collected Tom Tierney and other paper doll books by the dozen. When we visited her home, I could sit down and look through the books at the beautiful dolls and clothing. I loved it when she gave me a book of paper dolls for my birthday.

There was only one problem. The books were so beautiful, I couldn't stand to cut them up. Today, I have many paper doll books, all intact. But back then, I still wanted to play with paper dolls, so I drew my own. I had hours of fun designing dresses for the dolls. Many of these oh-so-professional paper dolls are also in an envelope somewhere.

I eventually grew up, stopped playing with paper dolls, and went to college. I studied graphic design at one of the top three design schools in America. I worked full time for many years, but eventually switched to freelance design work so I could stay home with my children. When my daughters were old enough for paper dolls, naturally I bought them some. I also went online to find some free paper dolls I could print. Most of the printable paper dolls I found were very poor quality. Others had outfits I would rather not give to a seven-year-old. Some websites even posted Tom Tierney's paper dolls! Those were obviously posted in violation of copyright laws, and as a graphic designer I am very sensitive about copyright issues. (More on this subject later).

However, I loved the Jane Arden Paperdolls I found online, which were from old newspapers. The Jane Arden and other fashionable paper dolls were simple line drawings of contemporary (now vintage) fashions printed each week in the comic section of newspapers. I printed some of these free paper dolls off the internet, but as a professional graphic designer, the print quality did not impress me.

So I decided to design my own paper dolls for my daughters. I drew some paper dolls from a variety of angles, including a back view... some of those dresses have incredible backs! I used classic figure drawing techniques and tried to make the dolls more realistic in terms of body image. My paper dolls are not size 2 models, although they are still quite tall proportionally.

The clothing is based on beautiful vintage fashions. I try to keep the outfits fairly accurate to the original, but the nature of paper dolls requires me to make modifications to some of the designs. Additionally, the clothing I draw will always be modest, since the dolls are primarily drawn for young girls like my daughters. More later on techniques I use when I draw the clothing for the paper dolls.

All the dolls and dresses are line drawings, allowing for as much creativity as possible. Tom Tierney and other paper doll illustrators have beautiful, full color, historically accurate paper dolls. I wanted to do something different for my daughters, to allow their creativity to shine in how they colored and patterned the dresses. The paper dolls and dresses can be colored in historically accurate shades, or any color desired.

Every week, a new free paper doll fashion design will be posted. Within a short time, there will be an extensive collection of fashionable outfits on this blog. Once a good variety of outfits are posted, each new free paper doll page will be available for just one week.

I hope you enjoy these paper dolls!